Show image caption Platform 2018 installation photos at Turner Contemporary. Photography by Stephen White

Turner Contemporary calls for artworks from Kent and Medway artists to feature in a major exhibition selected by community groups

Turner Contemporary is ten years old in 2021. Back in 2009, the gallery hosted an Open exhibition in a temporary space on Margate High Street that celebrated the creativity of the artistic community across Kent. To mark its 10th anniversary year, the team at Turner Contemporary want to hear from practicing artists living and working in Kent & Medway or those working nationally and internationally who studied in Kent & Medway. Artists are invited to submit work for an open exhibition which will span all four of Turner Contemporary’s galleries. 

Building on the gallery’s longstanding experience of working with the community to create exhibitions and inform its programme, the process will see community groups curate and select the exhibition. These selectors have been announced today as; Age UK Thanet; Canvas 4 Equality; Margate Pride; Turner Contemporary’s Access Group. Each of the groups will take over one of the four main gallery spaces and work closely with Turner Contemporary’s programming team to bring the exhibition to life. The Community Groups recently came together for the first time and each are involved for a range of reasons; 

Age UK Thanet said; “Our collective of Age UK representatives are looking forward to curating and shortlisting for the Turner Contemporary Open 2021. The over 50’s make up nearly a third of the Thanet population; many of those we support, or who support our services are talented & skilled and have lived incredibly colourful lives. This partnership should help us provide a voice for the Age UK Thanet family and contribute to an enticing exhibition for the people of Thanet.” 

Canvas 4 Equality said: We are involved because this is a fantastic opportunity to curate an inclusive and accessible arts space that represents marginalised communities across Kent. We, Canvas 4 Equality, are a group of young women, of mixed ethnicities and sexualities, from Thanet and Canterbury.  Our aim is to raise awareness about inequalities from an intersectional perspective.  This project will allow us to select art that will start conversations with people from the towns we grew up in; this project will allow our communities to be seen. Turner Contemporary is an institution which invites people from all different walks of life through its doors, and it is this simple fact that excites us in our collaboration. We will challenge ourselves to select work that will not alienate, but rather, bring together, fractures in our communities. 

Margate Pride said: “Margate Pride CIC is an arts-led Pride, a celebration of LGBTQIA+ life and a platform to continue the fight for equality and to challenge prejudice. Turner Contemporary has always played a role in the town’s Pride, be it from hosting workshops, exhibitions, events or performance, so we’re excited to be working together to create an exhibition that represents the region and the principles Margate Pride stands for.” 

Turner Contemporary Access Group said: “We’ve worked as volunteers for years to make sure as many people as possible can enjoy visiting Turner Contemporary and experience the work it shows, and the Turner Contemporary Open 2021 is a great expression of that philosophy. It opens the doors to everyone and promises to bring together a broad and diverse collection of work by artists across Kent. We’re pleased to be able to make sure that the exhibition is built on the principles we champion.” 

Victoria Pomery, OBE, Director of Turner Contemporary says: “During the pandemic the arts and creativity have played a vital, and perhaps more visible, role in many of our lives. This exhibition will celebrate the wealth of artistic talent living, working or trained in Kent. Working with our community has always been at the heart of our approach and I am delighted to be working with such a brilliant range of selectors.” 

The aim of the exhibition is to celebrate and showcase the wealth of artistic talent living, working or trained in Kent; to include artists at all stages of their careers; to develop relationships with artists in or from Kent and to increase awareness of artists working in Kent amongst audiences outside the county.  It will further expand Turner Contemporary’s practice of working with the community to develop world-class exhibitions and programming, building on projects such as ‘Journeys with The Waste Land’ in 2018 which saw a group of local people curate a landmark exhibition 


Submissions are open and will close on 14 February 2021. Works will be selected by the end of March 2021 and the exhibition is set to open in summer 2021 and last for six months. This call is open to artists of all ages living and making work in Kent and those working and exhibiting nationally and internationally who studied in Kent. Find out more and submit your work here.

About the Community Groups

Age UK Thanet 

Age UK Thanet is a local registered charity delivering a comprehensive range of services throughout the Thanet area, the services provided help to maintain independence and enablement at home, informed choice, reduce loneliness and isolation, promotes physical and mental wellbeing, looking at individuals in a holistic way. 

  • We want our services to enable people to enjoy every stage of their life from the age of 50. 
  • We aim to give individuals choice and fulfilled days, so that they feel positive and can face any barriers that arise on any day. 
  • Before the pandemic we provided warm and welcoming Community Hubs in the Thanet area in partnership with statutory and voluntary organisations and hope to continue to deliver this again 
  • We wish to alleviate any individual who is in a difficult financial situation suffering, through whichever way we can, whether this be signposting or welfare funds when available. 

Canvas 4 Equality  

We are a group of young women, of mixed ethnicities and sexualities, from Thanet and Canterbury. We want to spread awareness about social inequalities from an intersectional perspective, firmly rooted in our lived experience. Through our online platform and live events, we aim to curate a space for artistic responses to local, and global, inequality; we want to provide hope as well as feasible solutions to a better society. Our aim is not perfection, but action. We are singers, illustrators, poets, medicine and stem students, sisters, daughters, students, pint pullers, but mainly we are a community. This is a movement, not a moment. 

Margate Pride 

Margate Pride CIC is an arts-led pride, a celebration of LGBTQIA+ life and a platform to continue the fight for equality and to challenge prejudice. 

Turner Contemporary Access Group 

The Access Group meets regularly at Turner Contemporary, to help make sure that as wide a range of people as possible can see and enjoy the gallery’s exhibitions. The group looks at physical access, but also at things like how to explain the work in different ways or provide extra material to help people experience it, and it includes people with mobility issues, people who are deaf, and those who are neurodivergent.